Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Are you concerned about Steve McNair?

I must admit that I am.

Everyday at McDaniel College, I observe McNair growing a bit more comfortable with the Ravens offense and with the personnel. He already has developed a great rapport with Todd Heap and what can you say about the history he shares with Derrick Mason that manifests itself every day on the practice field. The pair can be dangerous together.

So why am I concerned?

I’m concerned because the Ravens offense is built to stretch a defense with the vertical passing game. They really aren’t a traditional west coast offense and they aren’t physically built that way either. Yet in practice, McNair seldom goes downfield and the thought has crossed my mind that perhaps he’s just not confident in his ability to go vertical. Clearly his arm strength is nowhere near that of Kyle Boller’s. The accuracy is there but the zip and the tight spirals don’t equate to Boller’s.

We’ve certainly seen that those ingredients don’t necessarily add up to good quarterbacking. Accuracy is crucial, placing the ball where receivers can make a play after the catch and managing the game under pressure are more important to effective quarterbacking.

But if McNair doesn’t or can’t or won’t go downfield, won’t opposing defenses catch on? Won’t they begin suffocating the Ravens at the line of scrimmage and won’t that choke off the running game and the intermediate passing game leaving little room for error? Won’t that be the same thing we’ve witnessed here since the loss to the Titans in the Ravens last playoff game?

This might just be the overly concerned fan in me speaking here but until proven otherwise, this is something that I for one will be watching closely.


Joe B. said...

The lack of the vertical passing game is a very legitimate concern- but it has nothing to do with McNair. Steve has no time to look deep. Mike Flynn will be the end of McNair in Baltimore. It is sad but true. Joe B.

#1PaRavenFan said...

McNair's lack of a consistently accurate deep ball is well known. I watched the Ravens give him extra practice on just that in training camp with Clayton and Mason.

But more important is his ability to throw middle distance passes with laser accuracy, which he can clearly still do. (For me, middle distance is at least 10 yards past the line of scrimmage). As long as opponents respect that, they can't overload the box for Jamal's runs, and our offense is opened up.

I agree with Joe B. that an effective passing game at any distance requires that the O line can pass block. That is a huge concern of mine too, and I think the entire season hangs on that question.